Should You Sack The Offline Yellow Pages? Let crm systems give you the answer


Do you measure the effectiveness your offline marketing activities? It’s okay, no need to be embarrassed, most business owners don’t. However without this vital information you could be throwing away good money on multiple marketing strategists that just don’t work for you. And in today’s economy waste cannot be tolerated, to stay alive every dollar counts.

When it comes to marketing waste, the yellow pages is a repeat offender. But before we move onto discussing the pro’s and con’s of the yellow pages it’s important to understand the mechanics of marketing data.

So how do you track and measure the success of each marketing campaign? Well it’s not easy, especially when you rely upon manual systems. Trying to track the source of new clients manually using spreadsheets and log books takes up valuable staff time. It is also difficult to translate into meaningful statistics. There is no point in collecting the data if you can’t use it identify patterns in your marketing returns.

CRM systems make tracking and interpreting marketing data simple and easy.

Don’t know what CRM systems are? Well CRM systems are short for customer relationship management software. These programs store and manage important customer information, including the source of each new customer. Once you have recorded where each new customer came from you can also use the charting and forecasting tools to measure the success of past marketing campaigns and predict their future potential with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Now when it comes to online activities (such as people who come to your site from the online yellow pages directory) finding out where the customer came from is easy. If you get one of the newer web based CRM systems they should include web integration capabilities. Meaning they plug into your website and record any customers who register via your website.

Offline activities is where it gets tricky. If everyone calls you through your main telephone number separating the source of new customers becomes difficult. If you ask people where they heard about you it can break the flow of the sale. Staff will also forget to ask or forget to enter the answer into your CRM. Meaning you’ll end up with patchy and incomplete data.

The simple solution is using dedicated 1300 (or 1800) numbers for each marketing activity. The type of number you use will vary according to what country your from and you can also choose between numbers that only cost the caller the price of a local call (1300 numbers usually) and numbers that are totally free for the caller (1800 lines). They are usually about $20 or so dollars to set up and after that you only pay based on the actual volume of calls placed.

If you use this method you will have dedicated number for your yellow pages listing. So anyone who calls on that number definitely found you through the yellow pages. There is nowhere to hide. You’ll know exactly how much traffic your yellow pages listing generates, which in most cases won’t be a lot. Making the decision whether to sack the yellow pages an easy one.

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Defining the Luxury Market and the Affluent Society


Defining the luxury market is not easy, while the concept of the affluent society is one that can be defined in terms of earnings as a proportion of the average in the USA or any other country. Luxury may be definable in terms of its availability to the population as a whole, where the division between social classes could be in their consumption of luxury goods. What I cannot afford and you can is luxury!

That is a very subjective definition, and not one on which business can draw up strategic business plans. What are the benefits of being able to define these terms, and how does it affect the American manufacturing and service industries?

In order to make luxury available to the middle classes and other luxury consumers that want it, referred to as the ‘aspiring class,’ some luxury products were created just for that purpose. This achieves nothing but to confuse the definition of the term ‘luxury market’ and is one reason why it is indefinable.

Definition of Luxury Market?

Professor Bernard Dubois defined luxury as a ‘specific tier’ in terms of price of any service or product type, but this is not been generally accepted and there have been many other attempts to define ‘luxury’ – none of them realistic or accepted. It is probably best not to try to define a term that is non-definable because it is relative to the group trying to define it.

To somebody that normally travels coach, a Business Class seat is luxury. To others, a First Class seat is commonplace. So luxury cannot be defined other than in relation to individuals. The American Affluence Research Center (AARC) has defined the luxury market as consisting of the wealthiest 1% of American households. This is an attempt to place a figure on a relative quantity, and you can use that if you wish.

Definition of Affluence?

More acceptable is the AARC definition of the affluent society as being the top 10% American households in terms of income. In order for a definition to be accepted, not only should people be able to understand it, but they should also be able to associate themselves as belonging to it or not belonging.

In that sense, both luxury and affluence are definable, even though one may be ambiguous and the other definitive. The answer to any unacceptable definition is to offer another, and there has been no other accepted definition of the ‘luxury market’. So it comes down to a choice between the price-based definition of Prof. Dubois, or the earnings-related definition of the AARC.

In one sense the two are closely related, because only the highest earners should be able to purchase the highest priced products. Price can only be included in any definition if it relates to products within a category, and not price as an absolute figure. Thus, members of the luxury market may be able to afford a luxury car, but not a basic private plane. Others have attempted to overcome this problem by relating luxury to the individual experience, bringing us back to ambiguity.

Affluence is Easier to Define

These various attempts to define the term indicates only that there is no universally agreed definition, and that the luxury market is therefore indefinable across a broad population – but can perhaps be defined within social classes. It is therefore difficult for those supplying the luxury market to define their market: it is far easier to define the ‘affluent society’ in terms of income or ‘disposable’ income, which is why it has been defined in the USA as the top 10% of American households in terms of income.

The manufacturing and service industries then have a measurable target population to reach, and can plan accordingly rather than use what is more of a conceptual group than a measureable one in the luxury market. A luxury item, on the other hand, can be defined in more concrete terms. The demand for a ‘necessity’ remains the same irrespective of increases in disposable income, while demand for a luxury increases disproportionately with income.

Can Luxury be Defined by Price?

A luxury brand such as Armani is only such due to price. Should average earnings reach a point where most of the population can afford Armani, then the firm would feel obliged to increase prices to retain the sense of exclusivity. This is where luxury becomes price-related, and not value-related. An Armani suit does not improve in quality by increasing the price to retain exclusivity.

Use a Customer Acquisition Strategy to Bring in New Business


The current economic climate has made life tough for many companies, as attracting new customers and retaining existing ones has never been harder. Firms operating in business to consumer markets are finding things particularly difficult, as wage freezes and inflation have left people with less disposable income and they have become more careful about their spending.

Businesses that can afford to discount heavily may be able to take advantage of the conditions, but others have to think very carefully about their customer acquisition strategies. In the past, you may have looked to compete on price or launched advertising campaigns to tempt consumers to give you a try, but these options are only available to firms with reasonable budgets. To attract new customers or bring back old ones to your shop or website may require a more innovative approach. One option well worth considering is incentives that make your products and services look like a good value for money choice to potential buyers.

These sorts of loyalty schemes are proven to be effective for customer retention and acquisition. You only have to think about your own shopping habits and the points you collect at supermarkets and other major retail chains to realise that they influence people’s thinking.

Whether your company is solely online, has its own shops or operates on both the internet and high street, a points programme can help you to bring in new customers. Systems that offer both immediate and ongoing incentives are particularly good. For example, you may want to provide gift vouchers for any new customers who sign up and give them the opportunity to earn further rewards, such as travel perks, by making regular purchases.

If your business is planning a product launch or promotion, coupling it with a new loyalty scheme could be particularly effective, as prospective customers will have a reason to make purchases now and return in the future. You may be worried that running this kind of customer acquisition and retention programme will be time consuming, as time is one thing most business owners are short of. However, it is possible to outsource the operation to a company that has significant expertise in managing such schemes and can also provide you with advice about the best option for your firm. There are other choices available to help attract and retain customers, including Christmas savings schemes and selling pre-paid gift vouchers that can be used as presents.

A Happy Office Is a Productive Office


Regardless of what sort of business you are in, maintaining a productive workforce is one of the main priorities of all business leaders. One of the best ways to create a productive workforce or office is to create a happy one. Staff members who are happy and content within their places of work are more likely to perform at their best, leading to increased productivity.

Happy offices rely on a number of different factors, such as the overall office environment as well as the personal happiness of individuals. Creating a happy office is an easy way to ensure that you have a productive workforce. The happier the workforce, the more likely it is that the success of a business can be intensified, ultimately benefitting the bottom line.

How Can You Create a Happy Office?

To create a happy office there are a number of things which need to be addressed. One of the most important things is to make sure that employees feel that they are in a stable and secure environment, and one where they can discuss any problems or concerns they have without fear.

Providing this sort of office environment relies heavily on the roles of senior management and HR departments. HR departments often employ procedures and ideas from business psychology in order to provide a harmonious work environment, using their skills to help with problem solving and negotiation.

Alongside this, businesses often use business psychology in order to help staff identify their own strengths and weaknesses in order to build confidence, something which does lead to a happier environment. This also helps business to target training exercises in order to make sure all of their staff members have the relevant skills to complete their tasks to the best of their ability.

How Does a Happy Office Affect The Bottom Line?

Business psychology does not just help to create a happy office; it also helps to increase employee productivity. The knowledge and procedures taken from business psychology are designed to get the most out of employees in a way that will benefit both the company and the individual themselves.

A happy office makes employees feel more at ease whilst at work, allowing them to be comfortable and content within their role. This makes them more likely to perform at a higher level.

Of course, increased productivity means that the businesses will be making more money whilst their overheads and other expenses remain fairly level. By creating a happy working environment, companies can actually boost their profits and increase their bottom line. It’s for this reason that large corporations such as Google and Microsoft invest so heavily in creating a happy working environment for employees.

Improving the overall happiness of a company can be done relatively simply, with small things such as an effective grievance procedure helping to make employees feel at ease in their working environment. Even perks and benefits, such as access to drinks facilities and company socialising trips, can make a workforce happier. Ultimately, the key to creating a happy workforce lies on striking a balance between the needs and traits of the individual and the demands of the job, ensuring both are met where possible.